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Saluda Standard-Sentinel - Home
In addition to the Carrs, finalists for this year's award were John Pagel of Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy, a dairy and grain operation in Kewaunee, Wis., and brothers Richard and Roderick Gumz of Gumz Farms, a row crop and vegetable operation in Endeavor, Wis. Readers of AgWeb.com and Top Producer will learn more about each of the finalists in future news articles.
"There's very few people that have the opportunity to be able to take food from the farm all the way to the consumer and we have that opportunity," says John Pagel, owner of Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy.
At Pagel's family farm, a dream, nearly a decade in the making, became reality just a few months ago. "We're really excited about the flavors that we have, the cheese maker and the staff that we have, everybody that works in our plant has come from other cheese plants so they're experienced at what they're doing so we're pretty excited about what's going on," says Pagel. Along with mozzarella, string, whips and curds, the dairy's initial focus is on a dozen flavored cheddar cheeses. "If we can get one or two signature cheeses that everybody knows us for, then the other ones will follow along with it, we just need one that's, we need a rock star," says Pagel. The first test will be a big one when Pagel's Ponderosa takes on the world's best cheese makers next week in Madison. "I'm excited to be in it, it's sort of like you remember when you were in school and they're picking teams and you just hope you get picked on the team to make it, I think that's where we're at right now, we just hope to get picked on the team," says Pagel with a chuckle. Of the 127 cheese plants in Wisconsin, just a few are found on dairy farms. Pagel says his 4th generation family farm is proud to be one of them. "Our family has always been aggressive and in our business model we like to create opportunity for people and having that mindset helps us grow, and people that work for us enjoy working here and being part of the team and what do you do when the team is good, you give them more opportunity," says Pagel.
John Pagel, Owner & Chief Visionary
"From our cows to your countertop. That's how the founder of The Cannery sums up his philosophy on just how fresh beef and dairy must be to truly own the title "farm-to-table." As owner of Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy Farm, John is a lifelong farmer and longtime advocate of the local food movement. He had a vision of a place where people would gather, socialize, and rediscover their connection to wholesome, local foods.
"It's a step in the right direction," said John Pagel, owner of Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy, the largest dairy farm in Kewaunee County.
"It's one more tool for farmers to use." The state-funded study will also inject more science into the manure debate, said Pagel, who milks more than 4,000 cattle. "It's additional information to help us understand how serious the problem is," he said. For now, he said, he wants to see the complete results from the study before he draws any conclusions.
John Pagel, of Kewaunee, owner of Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy and Dairy Dreams LLC, contributed $4,900 to Walker and $2,450 to current legislators and a legislative fundraising committee.